A couple of months ago, I was driving to work on that train wreck that is the Highway 36 construction project between Denver and Boulder. In one of the many places that I had to temporarily stop, I looked to my left into the median and saw a construction worker, complete with bright orange vest and hard hat standing up in the back of a dirt hauler with cars zooming by behind him. The next thought that raced through my head was of course, "If only I had my camera!"
This would have been an awesome photograph. Not only were there cars racing by that could have been juxtaposed against his stationary profile, he also had the Flatirons behind him. As I was at a complete stop, I could have very easily rolled down the window and gotten a few clicks before having to move again. But I didn't have the camera, and that moment is now gone forever.
A couple of weeks ago I was on one of the back roads going to work, when the car in front of me slowed down and made a swerving motion to avoid hitting something. I saw a hawk fly a few feet in the air and then land in the bike lane. I slowed down to get a good look, but once again I did not have the camera with me. I have managed to get only one good photo of a hawk in over eight years of passively trying, and here I was driving by one on the side of the road just sitting there. At first I thought the bird might have been injured because he didn't fly up very high with the first car, and he just sat there as I drove by. I could have very easily stopped the car real quick and walked back to a safe distance where I could still get a great composition and I simply wasn't prepared. I wanted to kick myself, and it reminded me of my earlier experience with the missed opportunity to shoot the construction worker guy. Side note, the bird must have been fine because I saw him the next day up in a tree.
I'm sure we all have these stories of missed opportunities because we weren't carrying the camera around. My reason I don't take the camera to work is because I don't want my bag to sit at my desk all day long, and I don't want to leave it in the car where it would be exposed to high heat in the summer and freezing temps in the winter, or worse stolen. And I don't carry it around when we go out as a family because I am usually the one carrying the baby, and it would be too much.
In the end though, these are just excuses. The family time particularly is the most important time when I should be carrying the camera. You never know when somebody is going to do something cute or will make a lasting memory. If I have the camera and see something else, then I am prepared. After all, can I truly call myself a photographer if I don't carry around my camera? I think the answer to that might just be no. I don't want there to be any other missed opportunities. In 2016, there needs to be a concentrated effort on carrying my camera bag at least 90% of the time. After all, I can not grow as a photographer unless I am making photographs.
That's the message I want to leave you with heading into the weekend. Whatever we decide to do tomorrow, or next week, or next month, our challenge should be to take the camera with us. You never know what we'll see. And since I know everyone has stories to tell about missed opportunities, go ahead and leave a comment telling us what they were. Let's build a community here on Focustheframe where we can all learn from each other. So go ahead, tell us what your missed shot stories are?